By Justin Danziger
Stats current as of February 16.
The All Star Break is finally complete and it’s time to get into the juicy part of the NBA season. This is the stretch where every game truly matters. Since this last part of the season should be busy, let’s play a game.
The following headlines may or may not happen in the future.
Chicago Bulls eliminated in the first round of the playoffs
The Chicago Bulls currently sit third in the Eastern Conference, sandwiched by the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors. Chicago has hit some unexpected potholes along the road: the team can never stay healthy, Derrick Rose isn’t his old self, Jimmy Butler, a shining point in the team about a month ago, has been slowly declining, and Pau Gasol has been a worse defender than they could have ever imagined. Despite these bumps, the Bulls have a star-studded roster that is capable of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the season. But then again…maybe not. The Bulls have been less efficient against lottery teams than winning teams. On top of that, they are inconsistent. They can lose to the Knicks and beat the Warriors in the same week. Assuming the Bulls stay at the 3-seed, they are bound to play a below .500 team, possibly the Hornets, Nets, or even the Celtics. The Bulls tend to bring it against good teams, but they lose their flare at home against bad teams. So while this headline is unlikely, it could happen.
Oklahoma City misses playoffs; fail to pass Phoenix
If Russell Westbrook’s All-Star Game performance was any indication, the Thunder plan to bring it in the second half of the season. OKC is half a game out of 8th and have won three in a row. The Suns have been rapidly falling apart. I understand that the West is an absolute blood bath, but we tend to forget that THIS IS THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER! This team, when healthy, can win the West and come out smelling like a rose. I predict a long winning streak by the Thunder. This headline is not going to happen. No argument. No way.
Kevin Love signs with Los Angeles
I can easily imagine Kevin Love sitting at home watching the All Star Game crying, punching a pillow, and throwing his remote at the TV. Not that the All Star Game means that much, but Love must be disappointed with his season. His numbers are down, his defense is absent, and his impact has been almost more of a negative factor than a positive one for the Cavs. Love has a player option next season where he can opt out and become a free agent. Being that Love seems unhappy with his new, limited role, he may decide to search for money and a larger part of a team, like the Lakers. Love played college ball in California and the Lakers have the money. There is a possibility that he stays, though. Let’s not forget that the reason he left Minnesota in the first place is because he wanted to win.
Cleveland Cavaliers win first NBA Championship
I have been a believer in the Cavaliers since LeBron said “I’m coming home.” Although, as expected, it took the roster a little while to gel together, it seems as though the Cavs are finally figuring it out. I understand that the Warriors and Hawks are the best teams at the moment, but the Cavs still have the best roster. They are deep, lethal in almost every position, and have the greatest player in the world. The simple solution is to use Kevin Love. Seriously. David Blatt has been shoving Love on the perimeter and having him wait for the ball to come to him. This is only okay if 1) he can shoot with consistency, 2) he can pass to a man cutting, and 3) he can move when the ball is on the opposite side. So far, Blatt has had Love do none of the three. The possibilities are endless with this team, it all comes down to execution.